Some people flip houses, others – furniture, and then there are those who make a living (or at least some extra cash when they need it) out of flipping domain names.
And although domain flipping remains a touchy subject in certain circles, there’s no denying the fact that—if done properly—it can turn into a pretty lucrative business for anyone who invests a bit of research, time, and effort into it.
So, what exactly does flipping domains entail?
In theory, it’s fairly simple: you buy a domain at the lowest price possible, and then resell it at a significantly higher cost. In practice, you might not sell anything for months, years even, and you probably won’t earn as much money as you originally wanted to.
Still, this doesn’t mean that it can’t be done—it just means that you have to be realistic when it comes to your expectations, and learn the ins and outs of domain flipping before you get started.
In this post, we’re going to talk about the things you’ll need to pay attention to in order to become a successful “domainer”, and the steps you’ll need to take in order to flip your first domain.
Do You Require a Starting Budget to Flip Domains?
Some people buy a domain for $10 and manage to flip it for $100,000. Others invest $10,000 into a domain name, and never make any money out of it. In short: there isn’t a definitive answer when it comes to allocating your budget for domain flipping, as anything can happen.
However, it’s widely recommended that you start with at least a few hundred dollars, and obtain more than one domain name, as it will broaden your chances of actually flipping one.
What’s also important is not to get carried away and always make sure to treat this as a side hustle, at least in the beginning, until you figure out how everything works and what the best strategies for flipping domains are. With that said, you’ll want to invest only what you can afford to lose, and not e.g. your entire savings into this.
As you gain the necessary experience and learn more about domain flipping, you’ll be able to change your allocated budget accordingly, invest more into the entire process, and eventually earn more money.
What Types of Domains Are Best for Flipping?
Unfortunately, while there’s no magic formula (yet) that will provide you with a domain that’s perfect for flipping, there are some types of domains that might sell better than others. So, when you’re searching for a domain name to flip, keep an eye out on the following types.
As the name suggests, expired domains are those that are currently not in use by the owners and are ready to be sold. What’s so good about them? A couple of things, actually:
- They are cheaper than other domains out there.
- They already have some DA or PA.
- They come with their own traffic (since they were used at one point or another).
Needless to say, expired names are the ultimate favorites among domain flippers.
Still, if you decide that an expired domain has potential, be sure to study its history, ranking, backlinks, traffic, and other important things before purchasing it. After all, there’s a reason why it expired in the first place—perhaps it was used for illegal purposes or search engines blacklisted it due to spam.
The NameSilo Marketplace is a great place for you to start your search for expired domain names and find the ones you can potentially flip. There are always ongoing auctions you can be a part of and easily bid for the names you find interesting.
If you know a thing or two about buying and/or selling domain names, then you’ve probably heard that the shorter the name is, the more value it carries. Shorter domains are easier to type, remember, and brand, which is why they are in high demand among domain flippers worldwide.
However, bear in mind that, due to their popularity, shorter domain names usually come at a higher price, which means that if you have a limited budget, you probably shouldn’t be chasing after them.
Aside from expired and short domain names, locally specific domains (the ones ending with .UK, .DE, and similar extensions) can present great flipping opportunities for you that you don’t want to miss out on.
Not only are they valuable enough for you to sell them for a decent amount of money (people are always more fond of websites targeting their countries), but they are also specific enough for you to avoid a lot of competition and huge amounts of prospective buyers.
Believe it or not, you can cash in on new domain names, as well. If you take advantage of a new product or service and grab a name before anyone else does, you can, later on, flip that domain for quite a bit of money. The aim is to recognize the domain value on time, buy it at a low price, and later on resell it for a higher profit.
5 Steps to Flipping a Domain Name
Let’s say that you’re good to go and ready to flip your very first domain. What are the steps you should take to get there?
#1 Find an Available Domain Worth Buying
Obviously, to resell a domain you’re going to need to have one in your possession first. However, you don’t want just any domain—you want one that comes at a low price, but that can be sold for a lot more later on.
There are a couple of ways for you to do this:
- Head over to a directory or a marketplace (such as NameSilo) to check out the domains that are currently on sale or have recently been sold.
- Use those same websites to search for expired domain names.
- Use Google Trends to analyze market trends and find potential domain names that have higher chances of being valuable in the future.
Don’t expect to find great domain names overnight—you’ll need to do your research and do it well, which means that it might take you days even until you find domains worth purchasing. Not to mention that a lot of them probably won’t even be available for purchase.
You can also give domain drop catching or domain sniping a try if you stumble upon an expired domain that you like. The way it works is that you wait until a domain is fully expired, and then swoop in and register it yourself. Upon expiry, a domain will enter a Redemption Grace Period (RGP), which allows the owner to reclaim it (this period typically lasts between 30 and 90 days). If they fail to do so for any reason, the domain is made public for someone else (in this case, you) to register.
#2 Evaluate the Domain You Want to Flip
Once you’ve found the domain that you like and that’s available to purchase, you’ll want to evaluate it and see whether it’s worth purchasing. There are several factors that determine the value of domains:
- Length—If it’s short, it’s more valuable. As simple as that.
- Brandability—If it can be branded easily, then it will carry more value. In addition to being short, brandable names are always unique and memorable.
- Extensions—If it ends with .COM (or with a local TLD), it will be more relevant.
- Keywords—Broad, commonly used keywords give additional value to domain names.
The important thing here is to do your research and not rush the process. Check out how similar domains have been evaluated and then use that knowledge to determine whether or not your own domain is worth flipping. If you’re unsure, you can always hire a professional appraiser to do it for you.
#3 Register Your New Domain Name
If your research shows that your domain is valuable enough and that it doesn’t come with a shady past, you can go ahead and register it with a domain provider. The entire process is usually pretty straightforward and doesn’t take up a lot of time.
Always make sure that your domain registrar checks out, and that it’s someone you can trust with your new domain. At NameSilo, we can help you not only register your domain with ease and without a hassle but also help you sell it once you’re ready to do so.
Once your domain is registered, either park your domain to earn some additional cash until the right buyer comes along, or start working on reaching the right person to purchase the domain from you.
#4 Find a Buyer for the Domain
Now, this is where it gets a bit tricky. As we mentioned in the first part of the text, you need to find someone who will pay more for the same domain than you originally did.
And that’s not an easy task.
There are a couple of options for you when it comes to finding a buyer for your domain names:
- Create a landing page—Let everyone know that you’re selling, include your basic contact information on the page (this can be obtained from WHOIS), and wait for people to come to you. This might take a bit longer than you’d like, but it’s the best option if you don’t want to face your buyers head-on.
- List your domain on a marketplace—This is the most common route that almost all domainers take. Before deciding which marketplace you’d like to work with, be sure to go through their policies and fees, as there might be some details that could complicate things and that’s not something you want in the long run.
- Make your WHOIS information public—In most cases, hiding your contact information from the online WHOIS database is highly recommended, but if you want to find buyers for your domain, you’ll need to disable WHOIS privacy and make your information available to everyone.
- Reach out to your buyers directly—If you have a domain related to e.g. cooking, then it will make sense for you to try and sell it to restaurant owners. The same goes for any niche that you’re in. You can even use different directories, such as YellowPages, to narrow down your search and get in touch with your potential buyers.
#5 Sell Your Domain to the New Buyer
The last step in domain flipping is actually selling the domain you initially bought. You can go through with the sale via a domain registrar such as NameSilo, or you can use an escrow service, if you require that additional level of security.
Once you’re done, all you’ll have to do is transfer the ownership of the domain to the buyer, and voilà—you will have flipped your first domain.
Professional domain flippers are usually people who have dozens or hundreds of domains available at the tips of their fingers, and who have decided to make this their full-time business. However, what they also have is years of experience under their belts, which allows them to go through this process faster, and determine which domain is valuable and which is not in the blink of an eye.
If you’re just starting out, make sure not to rush your decisions and to start off small—limit your budget and try selling one or two domains first. See how that goes, learn from your mistakes, and improve your tactics. If you keep at it, you’ll soon be able to achieve real profit from domain flipping and maybe even make a career out of it.